Sulky racing causes chaos on Dublin-bound motorway as gardai called out to scene
The first race involved two sulky racers and supporters travelling in cars and jeeps take over both lanes on the motorway. Vehicles were forced to overtake them at some points.
The second race then took place an hour later with three sulky racers involved. These races are understood to be part of a ‘race heat’ with several other ‘heats’ taking place last weekend on the N7, M3 and N24.
Further ‘heats’ are expected to take place over the coming weekends on main roads and motorways. A Garda spokesman told the Irish Mirror: "Following reports received this morning, gardaí attended the scene of incidents of sulky racing on the M3 near Dunboyne, Co Meath at approximately 8:00am on Sunday, November 19.
“Those involved dispersed peacefully on arrival of gardaí. Enquiries are ongoing."
Sunday morning’s races continued despite the outrage at a similar, highly dangerous and illegal race on the N20 near Croom in Limerick last weekend, when racers and supporters took over the whole road, including the hard shoulders.
They forced oncoming traffic to come to a halt or manoeuvre and swerve to avoid them. That reckless event caused outrage, leading to calls for Minister for Justice Helen McEntee to introduce “heavy-handed” legislation to stop this dangerous sport of racing horses on roads.
Speaking to the Irish Mirror last week following the N20 sulky race, Adare-Rathkeale Councillor Kevin Sheahan said this type of sport has to be stopped “with heavy-handed legislation and enforced.”
“We can’t have this nonsense interrupting people’s lives and putting their lives at risk,” Cllr Sheahan said.
“And the way we deal with it is through our legislators. This is a case here that the legislation desperately needs updating. I will call on the minister for justice now to respond to this nonsense that is putting people’s lives at risk and to implement legislation that will make it very distasteful for anyone who wants to participate in that sport.
“People cannot and will not tolerate it and this has to be stopped with heavy-handed legislation and enforced,” he said.
Meanwhile, Animal Law Ireland, which has been reporting illegal sulky racing to An Garda Siochana every weekend, said the activity, which is dangerous for all road users, is also reckless for the health and welfare of the horses involved.
“It is an offence under the Animal Health & Welfare Act 2013,” a spokesperson for Animal Law Ireland told the Irish Mirror.
“Gardaí have a range of existing legislation at their disposal to enforce. However, races persist. There needs to be a multi-agency, cross-county approach in tackling this highly organised and dangerous activity, before someone is killed.
“Official and legal harness racing tracks exist in Ireland and there is no excuse for holding such dangerous races on roads.
“We now call on Minister Helen McEntee, Minister Charlie McConalogue and Minister Eamon Ryan to draft a strategy to tackle the dangerous racing of horses on roads.”
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